Add Some Excitement to Your Occupation: Four Roles to Consider

Add Some Excitement to Your Occupation

Add Some Excitement to Your Occupation

Ask any four-year-old what they want to be when they grow up and they’ll tell you something glamorous or exciting.

Over the years my son has declared he wants to be a ballet dancer, a dirtbike rider, a fireman, a policeman and currently he wants to be a SUPERHERO.  When I was little, I wanted to be an actress or dancer. I was going to be FAMOUS.

When did we give up on our childhood dreams?  Or have we?  

Even though I’ll probably never be an actress, I figure I can grow my Star another way. When I finally publish my book I may achieve some of the fame and fortune I always craved as a little girl.

If you’re disappointed you chose a boring career over a longheld fantasy, then this contributed post was written just for you. 

Add Some Excitement to Your Occupation: Four Roles to Consider

For most of us, work is a way to pay the bills – and it’s not always the most exciting place to be. If you’re sat in an office, in a shop or in a factory you might find that boredom and monotony are a huge part of your workday.

However it doesn’t have to be this way, and if you need some excitement in your life then you can definitely add some to your career.

Choose the right job and not only will you no longer suffer workplace boredom and feel like you’re wasting your life away, but it could be rewarding and you could genuinely help people. Here are some ideas.

Police Force

Working for the police doesn’t have to just mean being a bobby on the beat. You could work as a dog handler, or as a traffic officer driving and be catching criminals at high speeds.

You could work as a forensic investigator, tracking and profiling individuals. It’s rewarding as you get to help victims, prevent crime and bring justice. But it’s also exciting when you’re dealing with crime anything could happen. It’s a role that will keep you sharp and will get the adrenaline pumping.

Emergency Work

If you’re looking for a role that’s always different and is a constant go, then emergency healthcare could be one to consider. You could be a paramedic or ambulance driver, an A&E worker, you could even work for the air ambulance – http://www.airevacinternational.com/careers/ explains more.

Emergency healthcare roles aren’t for the faint-hearted, but if you’re great under pressure, care about people and want a role that’s highly stimulating and rewarding then this could well be for you.

Image Credit: Pexels

Own Business

When you own your own business, you get to spend your time working on something that matters to you. Instead of earning money for someone else you work for yourself, building something from the ground up.

Watching your venture grow can be incredibly exciting, not in the sense of the adrenaline pumping on a daily basis but it’s certainly rewarding and fun to see what you will achieve next.

Many of the world’s largest companies were started from home, so you don’t even need a huge budget to begin. Just a great idea and lots of hard work.

Private Investigation

If you’ve previously worked in a role such as the police, military or a psychology based position then private investigation could be a fantastic way to go. Investigators could be working on anything from fraud cases to missing people.

You could be working for individuals wanting to know if their spouse is cheating, or working for your local council or the government trying to catch criminals.

You need to be able to keep your cool in any given situation, and the fact that it’s different with every case makes it extremely interesting.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all read spy novels and watched things on tv with private investigators and have thought of ourselves in the role at one time or another!

Over To You

What could you do today to add some excitement to your current occupation?  Or do you have to do a complete about turn to add excitement to your working life?   It’s never too late to have a happy childhood, right?  Let’s do this!

Overwhelmed Mom? Organization Tips Just for You

Overwhelmed Mom? Organization Tips for You laurenkinghorn.com

Overwhelmed Mom Organization Tips

From the moment your little one takes your hand you know your life is never going to be the same again.  You are overwhelmed with such Love and Tenderness.  Your Joy reaches proportions you never knew existed before.

Welcome to Motherhood.

Overwhelmed with Love

And yet at the same time, you know you have just taken on the biggest responsibility EVER.

This little one is utterly and completely dependent on you. For everything.

You are their everything.

Somedays that feels amaaaazing.

And sometimes your overwhelm looks more like this.

Motherhood

This is Motherhood.

Motherhood is a crazy mixture of the many beautiful moments of deep connection with our children and ugh moments and boring moments and frustrating moments and triumphant moments and scary moments blended with lack of sleep and endless housework.

And it can be overwhelming sometimes…. often.

So.. if you want to have less of these moments…

Overwhelmed Mom

And more of these…

Overjoyed Mom

it really helps to be organized.

My friends and family will attest to the fact that I’m not the most organized Mom on the planet. Not by a long shot.

But I believe I can improve. I can learn. I can grow. I can flex those organization muscles.

So I grabbed a few headlines from posts on the net written by Moms who are way more organized than me and I tried their tips on for size.

Make To Do Lists

It’s easy to be forgetful as a Mom.  For a couple of years after a birth, you have Mommy brain.  And after that, your life just starts filling up so much that things tend to get a bit out of control.

A To-Do List can really help you get focused on the tasks at hand.  Plus, it feels so good checking things off the list, doesn’t it?

Now, where’s a paper and working pen when you need one?

I’ve found most of my to-do lists since becoming a Mom are on my phone. Most of them are grocery shopping lists but I still remember the wine and forget the milk sometimes. Oops!

Overwhelmed Mom? Here are some organization tips you could try. Or not.  Up to you.  :)  #overwhelmedmomorganizationtipsPrioritize

This one is particularly tricky. Because it’s not tasks you’re prioritizing, it’s people, right?

At any given hour you’re having to choose who comes first.

Hubby? Kids? You? Your Friends? Your Parents? Your Work?

Now we all know if you don’t prioritize you, everything’s going to fall apart at the seams, right?

And we also know if you don’t prioritize your marriage that may fall apart.

And we all know if you let your friends go you’ll grow old and lonely.

And then there are your parents to consider.

And your work… which for most stay at home Moms has to be done when everyone is sleeping.

But if you’ve ever dealt with a toddler meltdown, you’ll know that the world has to stop when your child is falling apart.

And even when they’re not having a meltdown you’ve got be sure they are safe, fed and happy.  And it’s perfectly logical to a child that you can play and make lunch for them at the same time.

So yup. Your kids are your priority. And everything and everyone else is going to suffer for a while.

Don’t worry, when they get older they’ll need you less and less… until one day it will seem like they don’t need you at all. For anything.  And then you’ll miss this precious time.

Learn to Say NO

This is one is extremely important. When you learn how to do it, please give me lessons.

Complete Tasks

Where things often go awry is when you’re Stumble tasking.  You start out doing one thing, then baby cries so you head off to the nursery, when you come back to the kitchen, you’ve forgotten what you were busy with and get on with something else.  Then your 4-year-old needs their bottom wiped and so that task is forgotten.

If there were two of you, am sure you could find a way to complete tasks, one at a time in order, but years could go by before you can do this woman-alone, with 2, 3 or 4 kids demanding attention

Use only one Calendar or Diary

I found this little organization tip really helpful.  Keep one calendar for your children’s events and yours so you don’t double-book yourself.  I actually do this and it does work.  99% of the time.

Here are some Organization Tips from me that can help you get back more Aah and less Ugh in your Mothering.

Use car time

This tip is uniquely mine. Now I’m sure there are other Moms who do this but I haven’t found this tip anywhere on the net.

This year my son started Pre Primary School so we had to adjust to a new timetable. We used to able to mosey along to playschool any time between 8 and 9 and the drive there was against traffic.  This year school drop-off is between 7:45 and 8 am and the drive there is in rush-hour traffic.  So we’ve lost at least an hour of our morning ritual.

So rather than fighting with my son to get his breakfast finished before we go, I often let him eat whatever’s left of it in the car.  He actually eats more this way. I bought an extra toothbrush and kiddies toothpaste (the one with no fluoride so it doesn’t have to be washed out) and he brushes his teeth in the car.

All this gets done while we’re bopping away to our favourite nursery rhymes.

Take Time out for you

Even if it’s just for a few deep breaths.  Do it now.

Aah… feeling better?

And if sometimes, time out for you requires TV or tablet time for them, that’s okay in my books. Yup, that’s how real mothers survive.

Escape from the Crazy

Motherhood is a crazy time and if we’re going to enjoy it, we need to be present.   Find moments in every day where we can stop. Slow things down. And be truly there with our children. For our children. And for ourselves.

Get down to their level.  Play with them. Really play with them. Right now my son is 4 and he’s in the lego phase. I try each and every day to find a few moments to stop everything I’m doing and play lego with him.

Read to them. Storytime is one of our best times of the day.  And it really helps with a bedtime routine.

Get out in nature.  Aah…this is one of my favourites.

Getting out in the fresh air.  Getting some exercise.  Getting quality time with your children.  Nature just fills you up in a way nothing else can.

If you’re okay to take it at their pace, taking time to find little insects and pebbles and flowers along the way, it can be an experience. An Adventure.

Escape the Crazy

The One Way I’m organized

If there’s one way I’ve always been organized, it’s with SNACKS.

When my son was younger, a snack was always on hand, because I was breastfeeding him.

Once he transitioned to solids, I became the Snack Queen.  I don’t go ANYWHERE, not even for a little walk down the road without water and snacks.

A hungry child is a miserable child.  Don’t go there.

Over to You

What are your favourite organization tips?

Have you found a way to escape the overwhelm?

I’m sure you’re better than organization than I am, so please share…

How to Achieve Goal after Goal

What's holding you back from achieving your goals? Here's how to achieve goal after goal. Everytime. #howtoachievegoal

What's holding you back from achieving your goals? Here's how to achieve goal after goal. Everytime. #howtoachievegoal

How to Achieve Goal After Goal

Ever heard of the execution gap?  Well, I hadn’t until today. In fact, it sounds like a scary term to me.  I picture an executioner at the gallows… Not a happy thought.

But actually, it has nothing to do with that kind of execution, unless of course, you failed at your goal of being a hardened criminal. Hehe.

Because The Execution Gap turns out to be the answer to the age-old Question…

Why do we fail to achieve our goals?

When people set up goals and fail to achieve them, there remains a known gap between what the strategy says should be done and what actually gets done.

Let’s simplify that answer.  Here’s a Definition of the Execution Gap:

We set our goals and plan our strategy but we fail to TAKE ACTION.

  • We know what we want.
  • We know what’s required.
  • We just don’t follow through.

So how do we close the Execution gap and get our goals accomplished? Every time?

WARNING:  This is going to involve a MINDSHIFT.

Here are a few powerful questions you can ask yourself right now to start seeing your goals magically unfold.

1. Are you making excuses or taking action?

Excuses paralyze you and stop you from executing anything at all.

Any of these sound familiar?

  • I just don’t have enough time
  • The economy is too bad
  • The competition is too high

Have you noticed that most excuses come up when you feel fearful, anxious or uncertain?

At these times it seems easier and safer not doing anything at all than tackling the goal you have set up for yourself. It makes you abandon your goal before you even start pursuing it.

Excuses also make you stop working for your goal.

You may well keep saying that you want to achieve a goal but if you’re not doing anything about it, then how can you hope to achieve anything?

If you want results, you must take action first.

So before you even think of procrastinating, practice this little mantra:

Action precedes results. Action Creates Results. I Will Act Now.

Whats holding you back from achieving your goals? The short answer. You. Here's how to achieve goal after goal. Every time. #howtoachievegoal

 

2. What does your goal mean to you?

To bridge the execution gap, it is very important that your goal means something to you.

What will it mean to you when you finally achieve your goal?

To make any goal motivating, be it:

  • Losing weight
  • Overcoming addiction
  • Completing a course
  • Writing a book
  • Expanding your friendship circle
  • Setting a new business
  • Growing your client base

You need to have compelling reasons to achieve your goal.These reasons will then become the driving force that fuels your motivation.

Setting the wrong goal takes motivation out of the execution equation.

If you set a goal for the wrong reasons and chase after something you don’t really need, you will not be driven to achieve it and the execution gap will never be bridged.

So set yourself up for something that’ll mean something for you.

Let’s take the first example on our list: Losing Weight.

List all the reasons why you want to shed a few pounds.   They may be:

  • To get in shape
  • To feel healthier
  • To feel more comfortable in your clothes
  • To avoid having to buy a whole new wardrobe
  • For more energy and vibrancy
  • To feel more attractive to your partner once again
  • To feel happier in yourself

But do any of these reasons compel you to lose weight?

Usually, people only really get in touch with the meaning of their goal when they associate:

  • Massive pain in not achieving their goal

Or

  • Immense pleasure in achieving their goal

So get in touch with what would really help you shed those pounds once and for all.

Massive Pain

Get in touch with the worst thing that could happen to you if you continue to pack on weight.

For example, massive pain caused by overweight could be a heart attack or your spouse leaving you for someone slimmer. Imagine the end result in vivid detail.

But don’t leave it there.

Immense Pleasure

Now get in touch with the best thing that could happen to you once you’ve lost the weight.

How would you feel? What could you wear? Would your spouse fall in love with you all over again?  Would you fall in love with yourself all over again? With life? How would it feel to be 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 50 pounds lighter?  Would you have a whole new lease on life? Would you be able to do things you haven’t done in years? Would you have more energy to play with your children?

What, in your heart of hearts, are you really really really doing this for?

3. Have you taken on too much?

Moms are notorious for taking on too much. Whether you are a working Mom or a work-from-home Mom, you’re juggling a million things on any given day.

If you’re going to have any chance of achieving your goals, you’re going to have to:

  • LEARN TO SAY NO
  • Set your priorities straight
  • Focus on one goal at a time

When you divide your attention, energy and focus into too many parts, you fail to hone your expertise and skills where they could flourish the most.

When was the last time you considered any of the following questions?

  • What are your strengths?
  • What do you excel at?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are you most driven to do?

As Moms we’re often so busy that we’re on autopilot, doing what needs to be done, right?

So take a moment to take a deep breath. Stop. Look.

Consider whether the very next action you’re going to take is going to help you reach your goals.  Or steer you further away from them.

Investing in the wrong goal will only stop you mid-way without ever being able to bridge the execution gap.

Think of examples of highly successful individuals who excel at what they do. Take your pick from your favorite athlete, celebrity, scientist, inventor or just about any other category and you will see that these people succeeded because they focused on their strengths and mastered their crafts.

4. What’s Your Plan?

This could also be asked this way: Whose plan are you following?

Because not having a plan generally means you’re on everyone else’s plan.  Or at least someone else’s plan.

Have you ever started a diet on Monday and then given it up the very next day just because your best friend arrived with some delicious nibbles for tea? You didn’t want to offend her so you thought that you would just start again the next day.  The next day becomes next Monday… or maybe New Year… before you know it, your dieting idea has slipped your mind completely.    Oops!

We’ve all heard the saying: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

So what’s YOUR plan?  

Have you broken down your goal into actionable steps?

A good plan is integral to achieving goals and bridging the execution gap as it gives you direction and helps you stay on track. Not having a plan will have you running amok.

And without a plan, there can be no commitment.

Commitment is key to execution and without any, you will keep getting derailed from pursuing your goals.

5. Do You Have a Deadline?

Do you remember back in school what it felt like just before exam time?   How much knowledge did you manage to cram into your head those final hours before your exam?  Having an exam deadline looming is a certain way to get you to spring into action, right?

So set yourself a deadline and make sure it’s not too far in the future.  The sooner you have to deliver the work, the more you’re going to get done. In the shortest space of time.

Because working within a timeframe establishes a sense of urgency and focus.

This alone should be enough to get anyone going towards their goal.

If you do not give yourself a deadline and keep things open-ended, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Open-ended scenarios are an easy road to procrastination and pushing things to the back burner.

6. How Can You See Your Plan Through?

How can you go the distance?

Because if you give up when the going gets tough, you won’t be reaching that goal.

We all live in a world that seeks out instant gratification and when perseverance doesn’t deliver, quitting is viewed as an acceptable option.

Now… let’s cast our minds back to Question 2 for a second.  If your goal really means something to you, you’re going to see your plan through, come hell or high water.

Does that mean you’re never going to fail?

No. It’s quite possible you’ll experience small failures or setbacks along the way to reaching your goal.  Who am I kidding? Sometimes you’ll experience humungous failures and setbacks.

The trick is not to see these as a sign to give up.  This is when you have to develop grit. Tenacity.  Determination.

This is where the rubber meets the road.

Often people may fail to reach their goals because they do not know how to handle failure. They either choose to give up or change their goals when they face problems or do not get quick results.

Distractions

Or you may get distracted as other things come along making you neglect or even forget about your initial goal. That’s why it’s important to commit your goals to paper.

To avoid getting distracted and veering from your path.

  •  Write Your Goals Down
  • Add Your Most Compelling Reason(s) for Achieving Your Goals
  • Add Your Deadline Date
  • Place Them Where You Can See Them Every day

Are you ready for this?  Go go go. What are you waiting for?  It’s now or never.

I will Act Now. I will Act Now. I will Act Now…

How to Switch Off and Be a Better Mom

Parenting is hard. Especially in the Digital Age. Here's what helps me be a better parent. #betterparentingtips

Parenting is hard. Especially in the Digital Age. Here's what helps me be a better parent. #betterparentingtips

Better Parenting Tips

One of the job hazards of being a Digital Entrepreneur is that it’s far too easy to be working ALL THE TIME.  Combine immense job satisfaction with workaholic tendencies, throw a smartphone into the mix and you could have a recipe set for family disaster.  Because it’s your family that suffers when you’re permanently online answering this person or tweaking that post.

Or is this just me? Is it just my family who’s missing me even though I’m here? Well physically here. I’m at home with my family but with a vacant look on my face as I stare into the screen.

I have no doubt I have a smartphone addiction and my husband calls me on it often. His complaint rings out a few times a day and even my son’s started chiming into the refrain:

“Mommy’s always on the phone”.

I’m not proud of this.

I know how absent I am when I am in my creative process.  I can feel myself glazing over.

I am also painfully aware of the dangers.

If I continue to focus on my online empire to the detriment of my family circle, I could lose years of my child’s life.  He’s already four year’s old. Next time I look up from my phone he might be 8 or 12 or 16.  He will be 20 and leaving home.   I know just how quickly the years fly by with children and I don’t want to miss out on them. I only have this one chance.

I could lose my marriage.  My husband may get tired of being alone in this marriage and may leave me, which would be disastrous not just for me but for both children.

Turning it Around

So I’ve been working on being more present, as a parent and a wife. Somedays are better than others.

Yesterday was one of my best days. We enjoyed the most gorgeous lazy Sunday morning.  I really connected with my son, it was wonderful.   My hubby was listening to us play and he congratulated me for being such a great Mom when he came downstairs to join in the fun.

Without further ado, here are my tips on how to be a better Mom even when you have other stuff to do.

How to Switch Off and Be a Better Mom

Do a Digital Detox

So how did I have one of my best days as a parent?  Well, it all started with me shutting down my laptop and ignoring my phone once my son was awake so that I could focus all my attention on him.

No, let’s go back a day or two because actually, it started by me easing away from my digital life.

Going cold turkey when you have a digital addiction is not easy so I’ve found I have to do in stages.   I find I have to switch off from “work-mode” before I can switch into parenting mode.

Here’s what helped me to do this:

Business Up-to-Date

I worked late on Friday night so that I could complete all business tasks I had planned for the week.  In an online business, there’s always more stuff you could be doing but I got to a point where enough tasks were done that work wasn’t crowding my mind.

I also worked hard on Saturday with my son getting his School project done (which co-incidentally was called “My Family”) and everything packed for school on Monday.  For once we were uber prepared. Early.

Tip 1: Reach a point where you declare your work is done and it’s now family time.

Housework Up-to-Date

I did loads of house cleaning on Saturday.   This ensured that I wasn’t distracted by a dirty house on Sunday plus something about housework actually helps me switch off from my website work.

I think it’s got something to do with it being physical rather than mental and perhaps also because it involves organising, tidying and cleaning.  It’s very satisfying in its own way.

I even roped my son in to help me polish my car so actually, Saturday was also one of my better days as a parent.

Tip 2: Do something that takes your mind off your work.  Weirdly, housework does the trick for me.

Get Active

While we’re on the subject of doing something physical, this is one of the best ways to enjoy time with your children.

On Sunday morning my son asked us to have a party with him.  So we switched on the radio and there we were in our pyjamas, dancing in the lounge. And even jumped on the couch.  What fun!  And quite a workout I must tell you.

Later on that morning, we jumped on the trampoline together, which is one of my son’s favourite pastimes.  And again, great exercise for both of us. Especially as I land up being his rodeo horse for some of the time.

Often we go for walks.  Or kick a ball around. Or play mini golf.  Or swim.   My hubby and son often wrestle together.

The point is to find something both you and your little one love doing and do it TOGETHER.

Tip 3:  Do something fun and physical with your child(ren).

Connect

I’ve noticed lately that my son increasingly wants to stay home and play on the weekends rather than go out.  Our lives are often so full and busy.  We arrange school extramurals, play dates and outings.

Where is the time for free play?

We pack so much into their little lives when really all they want is home.  Us.  Meaningful connection.

And I find the moment I spend quality time with my child, I just want to hug and hold him close all the time. He is so adorable, I just can’t help myself.  Of course, he’s 4 now, so he’s not always into hugs as much as I am but when you’re playing and dancing together it’s quite easy to slip in a few fun hugs.

If your child is really past the hugging phase, meaningful connection could just be that magical moment, mid-play, when you look into your child’s eyes and tell them how much you love them.

We had so much meaningful interaction yesterday that it kind of back-fired on me this morning when I had to get my son to school.  He did not want to go, he just wanted to stay home and play with me all day again.

Tip 4: Find a way to connect deeply either through touch or eye contact (or both).

Be a Playmate

On the days I give myself over fully to just being a parent, I’m actually more of a playmate.

I always allow my child to lead the play. I actually let him completely boss me around, tell me what to do and how to do it.  Here’s why:

  • It gives him a bit of power.
  • It helps him get really creative.
  • And it also makes a lot easier than having to think up stuff myself.

You will be amazed at what they come up with, especially if you really allow yourself to get in their head space.

Yesterday this meant throwing a dancing party in the lounge, jumping on the couch, playing lego together, playing inside his little castle tent and jumping on the trampoline.

Kids also love it when their parents allow them to be a little bit naughty and even do naughty stuff with them – hence the jumping on the couch with him.  It sounds counter-intuitive but I’ve heard from a really good source (Hand in Hand Parenting) that this can prevent real naughtiness later.

Tip 5: Let your children lead the play and be their playmate.

Give Your Undivided Attention

If you got the first step right, the digital detox, it should be pretty easy to set aside some time in your weekend or in your day when you give your child all of your attention.

And when you do that, the magic happens. The effect on your child is amazing.

For example, we hardly watched any TV yesterday. Usually, TV is the first thing he asks for in the morning.  It wasn’t even a thought in my son’s mind until we had been playing for hours and we all needed a rest.

Tip 6: Be there with mind, body and soul, be fully present.

Shower Them With Love and Praise

I find when I’m giving my son my full attention I also notice myself also giving him a lot of Praise.  On days like these, I tell him:

  • how great he is
  • how well he’s doing
  • how much he’s learned
  • how proud we are of him
  • how lucky we are to have him in our lives
  • how much we love him

These words make a child glow inside.   It makes them feel special and loved and supported and safe.  I know because my parents gave me the same gift and it’s these words that come to mind and their love that sustains me in tough times.

Tip 7: Be your child’s biggest fan

Over to You

What methods work best for you when you want to switch off from work and be a better Mom?  Are you able to just have fun whenever, wherever?  Or do you also need a digital detox before you can give yourself over to play?

Count Your Blessings Name Them One by One by JillAlexa

Count Your Blessings Name Them One by One by Jill du Preez on laurenkinghorn.com

Count Your Blessings Name Them One by One - Jill du Preez on laurenkinghorn.com

By Jill Alexa du Preez of JillAlexa.com

After reading Laurens’ wonderful article on Motherhood, I want to add my pennies worth. Of course to me it is not pennies worth at all but some memories of early motherhood.

Forgive me, my children, if I don’t remember everything you said or did, it was rather a long time ago. The reason I have called this “Count Your Blessings – Name Them One by One” is that we were told by doctors and specialists that it would be most unlikely for me ever to bear a child and I did have medical issues which caused miscarriages. I won’t bore you with the details.

It was quite a shock to me to hear my children called PK’s (Preacher’s Kids) as the only PK’s I had heard of in my life until then, were pikinini khayas, which are outside toilets in Zimbabwe and probably other African countires. Well I am extremely proud of my PKs as they are all loving, caring and empathetic young people.

Having spent most or in the case of the last two children, all, of their lives living in Church manses and learning to accept everyone they have come in contact with in the church and their opinions. They also had grandparents sharing their home for twenty years and often had to bite their tongues when being told off or criticized in any way. I admire them greatly as it wasn’t always easy.

Oh, Happy days

Let us start a bit further back now. My beloved sister ,Gaye, who was married quite a few years after we were, discovered she was pregnant and when she first told me, naturally I was thrilled for her but hurting inside as I so longed to be a mother.

The first miracle was I found to my surprise that I was also expecting and we had our first children six days apart. Gaye was able to have natural home births with all four of her children whilst I ended up with three caesarian births. Never mind, it was just such a joy to have children and they were all perfect.

Warwick, our firstborn, was almost born in the church as I went into early labour during a congregation meeting (it figures). Matthew wasn’t yet in the Ministry but we were both very involved in our local church. Our car was giving us trouble and a dear friend rushed us up to the local hospital.

It was then that I was informed that would have to have caesarian section. It was a disappointment as I had been going to birthing classes etc. but never-the-less was grateful when I woke up to find I had this wonderful baby boy. When I looked down at this tiny mortal being, I was filled with love and awe that someone so tiny could be so perfect. Naturally, Matt and I checked every last bit of him. Amazing!

This child was born to talk. He absolutely had a love for people and befriended everyone he met. I was soon to become known as “Warwicks’ Mom”. No longer just Jill. He was a chatterbox of note and had an imaginary friend which was pretty useful, as when he wasn’t talking my ear off, he chatted away to his friend. The downside of this was that I had to prepare food for the friend too.

Accepting the call

Matthew had the call to the Ministry early but eventually accepted it when Warwick was just over a year old. Off we went to Grahamstown for him to study at Rhodes University. Great changes in our lives.

Hey ho!hey ho! its back to work I go

Sadly I had to leave my dear little chap in the capable care of a nanny and went off to work.

Warwick, often strapped to the back of his nanny, was taken all over Grahamstown and chatted to all and sundry thus becoming very well-known to all the passing parade. He loved to sit on the wide windowsill outside our lounge which was right on the pavement, and chat to everyone. As he grew older and went to school, no surprise, he was nicknamed “Chirpy” .

We couldn’t watch a movie without having a running commentary on what was happening and why, given by our son. This was quite irritating but we had to learn to accept it as it wasn’t going to change, and never did.

Pyromaniac?

My Mom, although she loved all her grandchildren dearly, wasn’t a very patient granny and didn’t offer readily to babysit. I think she felt she had done her bit, bringing up four children of her own. She also worked and was probably pretty tired after a long working day.

One day however, Matt and I had to go into town for something and she offered to look after Warwick. He was probably about three at that time. Mom went into the kitchen to make tea and when she went back into the lounge where she had left Warwick. He said to her, Granny, can you smell something burning? She could and they both gazed out of the window to see what it could be. Then Mom looked down and saw to her horror a drift of smoke coming from under an armchair. She moved it and saw a hole burning in her newly laid carpet. Where Warwick found the matches, who knows, what I do know is that my poor Mom was as mad as a snake and didn’t offer to babysit again. Can’t say I blamed her.

Making New Friends

Making New Friends

We arrived in Port Elizabeth when Warwick was around eight years old. Matthew had been called to St. Columbas Church. On our first Sunday I was surprised by a young woman coming up to me and thanking me for the invitation to tea. Warwick had met her son and said that his parents wanted him and his family to come to tea. We had such a laugh, come to tea they did and we have remained the firmest of friends to this day.

The Faith of a Child

It shouldn’t but it does surprise me what wonderful faith children have. When Warwick was in High School he developed two very painful plantars warts under his foot. He could barely walk and so I made an appointment with our doctor to have these beastly things cut out.

On the day this was to be done, Warwick came through to me in the kitchen as I was preparing breakfast and said, ” Mom, I had the worst pain I have ever felt, last night but I prayed about it and you don’t have to take me to Dr. Harle, my foot is healed.” I thought he was just afraid of the procedure but he said, “Mom, believe me, just look at my foot,” I looked and the plantars warts were no longer there and his foot was totally smooth. It actually made me come out in goose bumps recalling this incident. God really does work in mysterious ways, as my darling Mother-in-law always said.

Another Miracle

Our second son, Gregory or Greg as he is commonly called, was born in Grahamstown. He was also a premature baby and the smallest of my three children. On the second day after his birth I went to fetch him from the nursery for his feed. As I lifted the blanket all I could see was blood everywhere. This poor little baby was bleeding from his umbilical cord. What a shock it was. He was bundled up and taken by ambulance to Port Elizabeth Hospital and Matt and I drove behind wondering if our little baby would survive. It was a terrible experience. When we were allowed to see him, he was in an incubator with his fringes of beautiful black hair shaved off and tubes coming out of his head.

We had very good friends living quite close to the hospital who very kindly took me in so that I could be there to carry on feeding my little son. Matthew had to return to Grahamstown to study and also look after Warwick. Gregory was in hospital for over a week and I had to make sure I had enough milk to take to the hospital to feed him. I don’t know if it was this dramatic start to his life but when he was about two he fell in the kitchen. He stopped breathing and we had to revive him by giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. This was while we served the Krugersdorp church which was Matts’ first call.

Seeking Answers

Greg was just over four when we arrived in Port Elizabeth and when he had another of these episodes where he stopped breathing we were advised by our doctor to have him tested at the hospital. We spent a day with them doing all sorts of tests and it was decided at the end of all of this that he had a very rare form of epilepsy. He was put onto phenobarbitone, which I learned years later was totally the wrong thing to do. What did I know? We believed everything the doctors and specialists told us in those days. Have learned not to be so gullible and question everything now.

This medication caused Greg to battle through his early school life.as he felt sleepy a lot of the time. He also had stomach pain every morning, whether that was the medicine or the fear of school, who can tell? Probably a bit of both.

Time to Shine

Greg has tremendous ball sense and I can remember going to watch him play in his first cricket match. He was standing as though in a complete dream, then his arm shot out and caught the ball. All of a sudden all the little boys and the teacher ran towards Greg and patted him on the back, he had caught the ball and didn’t even realize it. He had just been standing behind the stumps, dreaming and unconsciously put out his hand and caught the ball. He was more surprised than anyone else. He now plays league tennis.

Technical Tendencies

Like most mothers, I knew when things were too quiet, something was up. Can recall, very distinctly, the day I went looking for Greg only to find him with a very happy and proud face with my sewing machine in pieces. He had carefully unscrewed everything he could on the machine and some of the parts we didn’t ever find. Hope he didn’t swallow them. This machine had been a 21st birthday gift from my parents, so could cheerfully have strangled him. He was two at the time. Had to restrain myself.

Another incident that comes to mind is when I was playing tennis and when I came to leave found that the windscreen wiper blades had been taken off the car. After a long search we eventually found them under the mat in the back of the car. Very frustrating.

Pastoral Call?

Greg was an escape artist of note and I received a call from a friend asking if I had seen Greg. As she also has a son Greg I assumed it was her son she was looking for. Oh no, she said, my Greg was there. He had ridden around in his peddle car. I didn’t even know he was missing. What a wake-up call that was.

Lost and Found

On another occasion, with friends and family members, we were all on holiday at Kenton-on-Sea and after a long day playing on the beach and in the river and sea, it was time to make our way home. The women wearily packed up all the necessary beach paraphernalia and marshalled the children, in readiness to go back to the cottage while the men went to collect wood for the braai,(barbeque).

Some of the older boys went off with the men and we women and little ones started up the hill back to the cottage. At the last moment, Gregory decided he wanted to be with the men and off he went. The problem was that he didn’t find them and I thought he was safely with his father.

After a long time, the men came back and began to get the braai (barbeque) ready for cooking the meat. I asked Matt where Gregory was but he didn’t know. he thought all along that he was with me.

The panic set in and the hunt was on for our lost little boy. He couldn’t have been more than four. Everyone went in different directions and eventually the police were called and at last we found him.

He was trudging along, his little face was ashen and the tears were rolling down his cheeks. As I put him on my lap in the car, his little body was shuddering with suppressed sobs. It was truly heartbreaking and as a mother I will never forget how I lost my little boy. It all turned out well in the end but it could have been so different.

Hallelujah!

Our third, and last child is Lauren. She was born just before Greg turned two and just three months after we arrived in Krugersdorp which was Matt’s first charge. After two little boys being born with a shock of black hair, they presented me when I awoke after the anaesthetic with this dear little bundle and she was almost bald. We thought at first the nurse had brought the wrong baby but we were assured it definitely was our baby and she was absolutely gorgeous.

Picky!

She was a very self-possessed little girl and certainly knew her own mind. She hated the colour pink and I soon learned that she liked to pick out her own outfits to wear. It made life much simpler to just place a few outfits where she could reach them and she would sort out what she wanted to wear that day. The outfits might not have been what I would have chosen but they made her happy.

This was definitely my artistic child and she loved playing the piano, writing poetry and stories. Collecting soaps and papers. She would spend hours entertaining herself and then present me with her writings or pictures, I still have a number of them in my treasure box. In all Lauren’s years at school, I never had to remind her to do homework or practice the piano. It was such a change from her brothers, as it was always amazing that they passed their exams at the end of each year, without studying very hard.

Mom Playing Truant

Mom Playing Truant

When we moved to Port Elizabeth she was three-and-a-half and she went to nursery school. It was lovely to be able to go straight from nursery school down to the beach and play in the surf and sand. Once I forgot to attend a large Women’s meeting at our Church and only remembered it when we were on our way home from the beach. I wasn’t very popular but boy did we have fun. Thank goodness I wasn’t running the meeting, that would have been unforgivable, I guess.

Stealing the limelight

Lauren was asked to be flower girl to one of the members of the congregation. She was so excited about it and I made the dress for her (not pink) and she couldn’t wait for the big day.

She was coached on how to walk down the aisle behind the bride and bridesmaid and to wait and be still while the wedding was taking place and all went well until it came time to walk out of the church. She hadn’t had any instruction on that part and first of all she picked up her skirt to show the congregation her white stockings and then skipped the whole way down the long aisle behind the happy couple.

PK Talk

One can often tell when children have been brought up in a manse as their conversation differs from other families. I was busy in the kitchen one day and as I looked out of the window saw Gregory and Lauren playing near the wash line. The window was open and as I watched them I saw Greg with a spade and he started digging a hole and there was Lauren standing with large pair of scissors and when I asked them what they were doing, Greg said “I am digging up the devil” and Lauren chirped in “and I am going to cut him up into little pieces.”

When Matthew was still at university he was given a holiday job working at Frere Road Presbyterian Church. The Minister and his family were going on holiday, so we stayed in the manse. This was a new experience for us. Warwick was at the stage of saying his prayers, Loved to answer the phone and also learning to say grace at the table. Matthew was out making a pastoral calls and Warwick and I were happily splashing around in his paddling pool. The phone rang and Warwick was out of the pool like a shot, ran to the phone and picking it up , he said, “For what we are about to receive.” I often wonder what the person on the other end of the line thought. I was convulsed with laughter. He was so very proud of himself.

Warwick and Greg were in the bath one evening and as I passed the bathroom door I overheard Warwick say to Greg,” you know Jesus and God are the same person” Greg was very puzzled and then Warwick with all the worldly wisdom of an eight-year-old said, “Yes, and his surname is Spirit.” There was a long pause then he said, “you know Greg, Jesus is everywhere, even in the bath with us.”. ” Well” says Greg, “If I give him a karate chop, do you think he will say ouch?”

Pity the Poor Teachers

We, as a family, had many lovely road trips and the children all talk often of the holidays we had. These were mostly spent with family and friends all over the country. The only drawback was that Lauren had a problem with car sickness. It was quite embarrassing for me to return the reports to the schools after one holiday after Lauren unfortunately was sick into my open handbag. I did clean the reports off as best I could but they still didn’t look too great, or smell too good either.

Seeing the Light

One evening, when we lived in Vryheid , in Northen Natal., we were driving out to visit Matt’s brother Lionel. Each Easter it is customary for the Town Council to put a star, in lights, on Vryheid Hill. We were discussing how lovely it looked when Lauren piped up, “That’s not lights, its a star in the sky.” It was quite a shock to us that she could not distinguish between lights on the hill and a real star in the sky. We realized then that she would need her eyes tested. This meant long journeys down to Durban. Car sickness and all the testing and then the poor child then ending up with her first spectacles. Since I had to wear spectacles from an early age, I knew the difficulties this entailed. My heart bled for her.

Quality Time

There are likely many more stories I can tell you about my beloved “blessings”, am sure they will be pleased if I stop now. What I do want to say is that I am a very proud and happy mother and I know that their father (although he can’t say much anymore) is equally proud of them. We see each other as often as possible.

Every week I am with Lauren, Dan and Ben on Wednesday, sleep over and go back home on Thursday afternoon. This precious time is spent working with Lauren on Wealthy Affiliate, playing with my youngest grandson, and getting closer to my son-in-law. I am in the enviable position of having wonderfully close relationships with all of my children and their respective spouses and my beloved grandchildren.

Tell me the Old, Old Story

Dear readers, I am sure you all have wonderful stories to tell of your children. If you choose to tell us about them, I do hope you enjoy the experience of looking back and remembering your dear children as they were, and still are miracles and blessings.

Those Special Moments Moms Live For

What Moments Do You Live For, Mama? These are the Moments Moms Live For in my experience. laurenkinghorn.com #momentsmomslivefor

What are the Moments YOU live for, Mama? These are the Moments Moms Live For (in my experience) laurenkinghorn.com #momentsmomslivefor

My 4-year-old son half woke up this morning at about 4 am and said clearly as if he was completely awake,

“Do you know what I love about you Mom?… Everything.”

And then he snuggled up close to me and went back to sleep. It was the sweetest thing.

My husband says this to me and both our children often so I know exactly who taught our son this wonderful saying. But I thought it was their thing, this is the first time our little boy has bestowed this great honour on me.

I woke up an hour later thinking, “These are the Moments Mom’s live for” and that’s what inspired this post.

Moments Moms Live For

There have been so many precious, beautiful moments since I became a Mom.  Far too many to recall and recount, though I wish I had one of those genius memories that could call up every single of one of them at will.

Some of the moments Mom’s Live for are Universal, aren’t they?

Giving Birth

Giving birth is one of those moments you both dread and look forward to at the same time.  Especially the first time you ever give birth and you have no idea what to expect.  You are so scared, so nervous of the birthing process and yet you cannot wait.  And then the moment comes and it’s even more awful, more painful, more exhausting than you ever could have imagined and yet at the same time it is the most beautiful, awesome, empowering moment you have ever experienced. And filled with such love.

I remember the immense love I felt for my husband right in the middle of my birth experience (which was made, I believe, infinitely more intense by the fact that I had been induced).  If felt like there were no moments between contractions.  Except for one moment, that moment when I was just about to give up, when my husband’s face came into view and he said, “You can’t give up now, you’re nearly there.”  Or something like that, the words weren’t important at all. It was the fact that we were doing this together, we were bringing this baby into the world together. I wasn’t alone, he was right there with me.

And this for me was one of the moments I live for as a Mom.  This crazy, scary, off the Richter scale if there was a Richter scale for pain, the moment when we brought my little boy into the world. Did I ever mention that my hubby pulled my baby out?  He did.  What a moment.

So although every Mom’s birth experience is completely unique, at some point during labour or right after when we get to hold our precious little one close for the first time, or if we’re lucky enough, get to nurse him, we feel a love for our husband, our child, our union as a family that is off the charts.  A love that knows no bounds. A love that stretches across the whole globe and encompasses all humanity and then comes right back into the room, to our little family unit. To envelop this newcomer in unconditional, universal love.

This is a Moment Moms Live For.

Nursing

And though we’re exhausted and depleted after our birth experience, somehow we’re also on high alert, waiting for the moment when our little spawn will want to suckle.  I understand not everyone gets to experience the joy of nursing, but every Mom gets to experience the magic of nourishing their newborn one way or another – whether they are lovingly warming up a bottle for them in the middle of the night or pulling them close to nurse.

Knowing our child needs us for both their survival and comfort, is another Moment Moms Live For.

Moments Moms Live For - Firsts

Their Firsts

And then as our babies start to develop, we live for their first smile, their first gurgle, the first time they sit, crawl and then their amazing first steps which look more like teetering.  Their first words start coming and we are in awe of them.

These are Moments Moms Live For.

I Love You, Mom,

And then comes that special day when your child looks deeply into your eyes and says, “I love you”.

This is a Moment Mom’s Live For.  And you hope, you pray, that when they are 21 they will still be looking at you this way, with so much genuine love and adoration and saying these words.

And there are so many other cute and wonderful things children say to us as they get older. I remember a good friend remarking how her son who was 5-years-old at the time would say how beautiful she is.

These are Moment’s Mom’s Live For.

This is for You Mom

The same friend said that her son also picks flowers and gives them to her, almost every day.  My son has done that too from time and time and he often wants to buy me a bunch of flowers when he says them in the grocery store.   Such a sweet thought.

I also find it amazing when he makes me something special and brings it to me.  A Lego car or a play dough pancake.  His favourite toy. When he shares his chocolate with me.

When he comes up to give me a huge hug, just because.

These are moments Moms’s Live For.

I Appreciate You

I’m just as touched when my gorgeous bonus daughter (who’s nearly 14-years-old)  bakes a cake for me, gluten free so I can enjoy it guilt-free. Or offers to lend me one of her T-shirts (because we’re about the same size these days, in fact, she might be slightly taller than me now).

When she Thanks me for making her Dad so happy.

When she surprises me or her little brother a present she bought with her own pocket money.

When the two of them are sharing their own special moment together. When our little guy runs up to his big sister and hugs her.  When I see how he looks up to her and how lovingly she looks down at him.  How proud they are of each other.

When she asks me how my blogs are going and likes one of my Instagram posts. Such a caring young girl, not your “typical teenager” by a long shot.

These are the moments a Mom Lives for.

I Love You, Dad

When I’m cooking a meal and I can hear my son and his Dad playing and giggling and making jokes.

When my hubby hoists my son up on his shoulders and carries him home from the beach.

When the kids are both climbing all over their Dad or one on each side of their Dad, holding his hand, walking into a busy shopping centre.   When they are outside in the garden playing cricket, basketball, jumping on the trampoline or feeding the tortoises.

When my hubby is reading a bedtime story and one of the kids is snuggled up close or sitting on his lap. I watched him do this for years with his daughter and now it’s our son’s turn.

These are the Moment’s a Mom Lives for.

I love You, Gran and Grandpa

My Mom has been coming to stay with us every Wednesday night for a while so we can work on our blogs together.  My Mom has a very special relationship with our little boy.  He absolutely adores her.

When he talks about family, it’s not just our smaller family unit, his parents and his big sister, he always includes his Granny and Grandpa (even though Grandpa is in Frail Care now and can’t come visit us anymore).

One day my Mom came over to babysit so my hubby and I could go somewhere and so my little guy and my Mom co-slept like we usually do. My Mom said, before they went to sleep, he kissed her from head to toe.

These are the Moments a Mom Lives for.

I look forward to many, many more of these of sacred moments to cherish and hold dear as the years fly by.  And because I am short on this kind of life experience right now, I have asked a friend who has a child who has just left for University to write a sequel to this post.

My Mom and Virtual Assistant, Jill Alexa, just wrote this gorgeous sequel:

Count Your Blessings Name Them One by One

Over to You

What moments do you live for, Mama?  Please share any precious moments with your children or family that popped into your head while reading this post.

Mama… When last did you take care of you?

Taking Care Yourself as Mom laurenkinghorn.com

Taking Care Yourself as Mom

Taking Care Yourself as Mom

I’ve mentioned before that as a Mom to a busy little man, taking care of myself has been pretty low on my priority list for a while and that this year I’m planning to change that.

Mama… When last did you take care of you?

There was a time in my life that I was much better at taking care of myself, so I’m going to give you some tips today based on what I used to do when this was my focus.  Because I learned a lot of great tips and tricks about Self Care back in my Twenties when I was an Aerobics Instructor and a Massage Therapist.

Burnout

I learnt even more about Self Care when I burnt out as a Massage Therapist and found myself struggling with exhaustion, depression, Sciatica (lower back pain and aching down the legs), Spastic Colon and the most hideous, debilitating migraines.  My road to recovery was long but eventually I found answers.

I never want to suffer from burnout or any of these horrible symptoms again.  If you’ve ever suffered from burnout or any of these symptoms, you’ll know exactly what I mean.  As the year progresses, I plan to incorporate more and more of these Tips back into my own life as well.

Simple Lifestyle Changes

Just a proviso to mention upfront:  None of this is intended as Medical Advice or to replace the advice you may be getting from your Doctor.

What I’m going to share with you is really just simple lifestyle changes that I made in my life that helped me enormously. Nothing too radical.   I can’t promise you will get the same results that I had, as I don’t know your Medical History and I am not trained to diagnose or treat Medical conditions.   I can only speak from my own experience.

Okay? All good with that?  Here we go.

Self Care Tip 1:  Eat Nutritious Foods

Self Care Tips Women - Self Care Tip 1 laurenkinghorn.com

It’s no secret that we are what we eat. And when I was feeling my worst, I was consuming a lot of chocolate and drinking a lot of coffee.  These are not poisonous substances by any stretch of the imagination but they became poisonous to my system because of the quantity I consumed over time.  And probably some other health factors coming in to play at the same time.

So, for a while, I had to cut anything that contained caffeine out of my diet altogether.

How did I find out I had become intolerant of anything containing caffeine?  I consulted a Kinesiologist and a Naturopath. I highly recommend veering off the path of Allopathic Medicine and finding some Alternative Healers if you have a bunch of symptoms that won’t seem to go away and you’d like to find out the root cause rather than just treat each symptom.

At the time, I also did a 2-week fast and a few fruit and veg cleanses and discovered that my body likes fruits and vegetables more than any other food.  I felt absolutely fantastic after a few weeks of eating only fruit and veg.  Here were the 5 main benefits in a nutshell.

  1. Energetic
  2. Joyful
  3. Fit
  4. Slim
  5. Free of pain

Here are my…

5 Ways to Eat Nutritiously

1: An Apple a Day…

Eat 90% what God Made and 10% what man-made (or tampered with). So if it’s in a box, bottle or packet rather than in a basket needing to be weighed, if you can’t grow your own in your garden, it’s probably man-made or tampered with.

In other words: Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruit and Veggies (this includes Berries and Nuts) to limit consumption of bread, biscuits, muffins etc.)

2: Find Out What’s Poisoning Your System

Find out if you are allergic or intolerant to anything and if you are:

  • eliminate it for a good few weeks or until all nasty symptoms disappear
  • then re-introduce, slowly
  • and never in the same quantity as before.

3: Eat Frequent Smaller Meals

Eat Frequently and never until you’re overly full (5 to 7 Small Snacks rather than 3 Big Meals) to keep blood sugar and therefore energy levels up.  Maintaining even blood sugar levels can mean the difference between whether you are happy and relaxed or depressed and nervous.

4: Drink Plenty of Water

Drink lots of water or herbal tea and eliminate sodas or soft drinks – even fruit juice and diet drinks as they still contain some form of sugar.

5: Eat More Fish

Choose Fish or Poultry over Red Meat or Pork.  I find my body works best when I eat plenty of fish rather than heavier, usually fattier steaks.   I know this is very controversial advice nowadays with the popular diets that centre around fat, juicy steaks.  However, fish oil is incredibly important for the brain.

If you’re not eating fish at least 3 times a week, I would recommend supplementing with Omega 3 Oils.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian I’d imagine you already know which foods are richest in Omega 3, but in case you don’t, there’s a great article here.   

A Note on Supplementation:

I believe 100% in supplementation, simply because I know most of us don’t have the time or inclination to eat as nutritiously as we should.   The supplement that helped me most when I was burning out was a little colloidal liquid called Cellfood by Nu Science Corporation. I got it here in South Africa from a company called Oxygen for Life.

Why it worked for me was because it:

  • was readily absorbed by the body
  • available at the cellular level
  • contains 78 elements and minerals, 34 digestives, 17 amino acids
  • contains Deuterium Sulphate which splits water molecules to release Oxygen at the cellular level

I must just mention here that this product is extremely detoxifying. I had a severe headache every day for the first 10 days of taking it but after that, I never suffered from a migraine ever again. Ever. And my spastic colon disappeared too.  Along with the lower back pain, depression and exhaustion. After about two weeks on the product, I felt better than I had felt in years. It was life-changing for me.

Self Care Tip 2:  Be More Active

Self Care Tip: Be More Active laurenkinghorn.com

I’ve read a number of articles proclaiming that our sedentary lives are becoming the new BIG HEALTH ISSUE. i.e. More life-threatening (and more fattening) than either fat or sugar.

We sit on our bums to get to work and then sit at a desk all day and then come home to sit on the couch and watch the TV, eating our TV-dinner, which we popped into the microwave.  I know that sounds like an extreme example, but these are the kind of lifestyle habits that sneak into our everyday life.

And I can see how, as a blogger, sitting at my laptop for hours a day is not doing me any favours.  I am fortunate that I’m also a Mom which sometimes requires me to be active, either doing housework or playing with my son.  So I’ve started saying YES more often when he asks me to come jump on the trampoline with him.  We also go for walks together and now that he’s a bit older we can pick up the pace a bit (sometimes).

Regular Exercise is Key

What I learned when I was training to be an Aerobics Instructor, back in the day, is that for exercise to make a difference to your health and well-being, it needs to be regular (at least 3 times a week to maintain fitness, 4 or 5 times to increase fitness).

Along the way I discovered that the drop-off rate is really high is people aren’t enjoying themselves.

5 Ways to Being More Active

1: Find Exercise that You Enjoy

In modern society, we tend to get stuck on the idea of the Gym as the only place to go to be active and the Gym may not be your cup of tea. But don’t let that stop you exercising.

There are many different activities to do other than working out.  And some of them may be more appealing to you than doing a workout indoors along with a bunch of other sweaty bods.

Here are some fun ideas you might want to try that may keep your interest:

  • Dancing (e.g. Ballroom, Salsa, Scottish Dancing, Line Dancing)
  • Martial Arts (e.g. Karate, Judo, Kung Fu, Tai Chi)
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Rebounding
  • Table Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Ice Skating

2:  Shorten the Duration of Exercise

People often avoid exercise because they think it’s going to take too much time out of their day.

All you need to find is 20 to 30 minutes a day.

And it’s been proven that short bursts of exercise where you get your heart rate up can make a difference – even 5 minutes four times a day makes a difference.

You could try these tips to be more active.

  • Climb stairs instead of taking the lift whenever you can.
  • Step away from your desk every couple of hours or so and skip (with a skipping rope)
  • Go for a short brisk walk in your lunch hour

Warning: Don’t try do any of these in high heels, you can stay in your work clothes but good shoes or bare feet are a must.

Get out in Nature laurenkinghorn.com

3: Get out in Nature

Being out in nature is good for the soul.  Exercising in nature is good for body, mind and soul.

There are so many amazing outdoorsy activities you can enjoy. Here a few examples:

  • Hiking or Mountain Climbing
  • Walking on the Beach
  • Swimming (in the sea)
  • Windsurfing or Kitesurfing
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding
  • Canoeing
  • Cycling
  • Jogging or Running

4: Change it up

If you find your interest in any activity is flagging, then it’s time for a change. Try something new every once in a while.

Or do something different every day. Whatever it takes to keep you active.

5: Change Your Mindset

Don’t let exercise start to feel like a chore.  If it feels like something you HAVE to do, it becomes something you do grudgingly.   Let it flow. Let it become a natural part of your life.  Find enjoyment in movement.

Self Care Tip 3: Take Time Out

Self Care Tip: Take Time Out laurenkinghorn.com

When last did you take a bit of R & R (Rest and Relaxation)?  Read a good book?  Or even flip through a magazine?

Emotional wellbeing is essential when you’re a Mom. Because if you’re an emotional wreck, your kids usually are too.  And everyone around you for that matter.

Here are my Top 5  Ways you can bring some much-needed balance back to your life.

1: Play Time

It can be so easy to let go of your friendships when you become a Mom. Especially if you have a number of children and your whole afternoon is spent getting them to all their extramural activities.

Take time to nurture your friendships, even if you have to have the kids in tow while you’re doing it.  Find things you can do with your friends and your children.

In the same vein, it’s just as important to find time to play with your children. Get down and dirty with them.  Climb into the sandpit sometimes or onto the jungle gym.  Lie on the floor with them playing cars or dressing up dolls or building blocks.  Let them lead the play and you might find you have a blast.

Oh… and while we’re on the subject of down and dirty, your hubby might appreciate some playtime with you too.

2: Down Time

Never underestimate the rejuvenation power of a good nap. Sleep is generally in short supply for Moms, so take naps whenever you can.

And if napping is not your thing, at least find a way to get in 8 hours a night every now and then.

SLEEP is one of the greatest healers I know.

3: Quiet Time

We live in a very noisy world.  There is almost always something on, TV, Radio or just the background noise of traffic and chatter. That’s why it’s essential to find spaces and block out time when you can experience stillness.

Find a way to bring meditation or prayer into your life. Learn Transcendental Meditation if needs be.  Or learn a breathing technique.  Or just breathe.

If you really find it impossible to slow your mind down to that pace, a Yoga class might provide just enough stillness for you. Or you can lose yourself in a book or some classical music, any music that calms and relaxes you. Whatever it takes to quiet your busy mind.

4: Me Time

While we’re busy slowing things down, it’s a good time to discuss chilling out on your own.

Here are some favourite me-time activities that you can consider incorporating into your life.

Mama... When last did you take care of you? Read more at laurenkinghorn.com #TakingCareYourselfasMom #SelfCare #MomSelfCare

  • Relax in a Bubble Bath
  • Go for a Full Body Massage
  • Indulge in a Spa Day
  • Go for a Facial
  • Read a Good Book
  • Window Shop
  • Say no once in a while
  • Get the Giggles
  • Journal
  • Lose Yourself in a Craft Activity
  • Watch a Funny Video on YouTube
  • Walk on the Beach
  • Go on a Shopping Spree
  • Give Yourself a Home Facial
  • Try Wii Fit Yoga
  • Walk in the Park
  • Paint
  • Exfoliate your Whole Body
  • Sing
  • Take up Creative Writing
  • List all the Things you are Grateful for
  • Knit
  • Dream of Your Ideal Day
  • Draw up a Bucket List
  • Breathe
  • Garden
  • Try out a New Recipe
  • Watch an Inspirational Video on YouTube (e.g. a Ted Talk)
  • Pop on your Favourite Beats and Dance in the lounge
  • Create something
  • Bake
  • Browse in the Library
  • Visit a Museum or Art Gallery
  • Invent something.
  • Play Words with Friends or Patience
  • Whistle
  • Pamper yourself with a Pedicure or Manicure (if money is tight, you can swop treatments with a good friend).
  • Relax in Your Comfiest Armchair with a Cup of Tea
  • Just Be

5: Let Go

Every now and again, it’s also a good idea to do something a bit crazy.  Something out of character.

  • Take yourself on an Artists date
  • Go on a girl’s night out
  • Go on a wild Date Night with your husband at a club where you’re the oldest people there
  • Or book yourselves into a local Hotel for one night, just for fun
  • Get out of your head
  • Reinvent Yourself
  • Go to a stand-up comedy show and laugh your head off
  • Plan a Dream Holiday on some exotic island and follow through
  • Join a Church
  • Go skydiving or bungee jumping or sailing or on a ski-trip… or something
  • Anything that takes your fancy (within reason)
  • Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Visit a beautiful Cathedral
  • Try something new
  • Take your kids to the funfair
  • Go camping
  • Take your kids to Disneyland
  • Volunteer at an Animal Shelter or a Children’s home or an Old Age Home
  • Go on a Pilgrimage
  • Light up the world
  • Go to a rock concert
  • Play Pretend
  • Walk the Camino
  • Or just close your eyes and go to any place you like in your mind
  • Find your Happy

Take Care of Yourself Mama! You Matter.

Over to You

Is there any aspect of self-care you think I have left out?  Do you see self-care as self-indulgence or a vital part of your health and wellbeing?  What do you do to feel your best?  What do you do to operate at your peak?  Join the conversation below…

The Art of Self Care

Inspirational Quotes Self Care

When I first became a Mom, I found that Self Care was something I sorely neglected.   And not just for 6 months but for the first 4 years of my son’s life.

I put his needs ahead of mine.  Every time.  And my hubby’s needs.  And the needs of the household and my business.

Family first, right?

Yes… and no. Because it’s not sustainable.

“Self-care is not a waste of time. Self-care makes your use of time more sustainable.”  ― Jackie Viramontez

Why Self Care Matters?

If you’re running on empty, at some point, you’re going to come to a standstill.

Moms, YOU matter.

Your needs, wants and desires are every bit as important as every member of your family.

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. ” – Mandy Hale

Inspirational Quotes Self Care

“Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.  Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.” ― Parker J. PalmerLet Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Re-introducing Self Care

So this year I determined things would be different.   In the last few months of last year, my blogs started making money.

And immediately I started contributing to the family coffers. This was important.  It was my goal, after all, so it gave me a wonderful sense of achievement.

But I realised it was equally important to start rewarding myself for a job well done.

“Pay yourself first.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Because that’s what would inspire me to greater heights.

And that’s why I decided that every month I would keep aside some of my blogging income for me-time.

In the form of Spa Days.  Because that’s my happy.  My bliss.  It’s the ultimate in Self-Care, isn’t it?

Me-Time

Inspirational Quotes Self Care“Take time off… The world will not fall apart without you” ― Malebo Sephodi

 

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. ”  – Jean Shinoda Bolen

 

“Invent your world. Surround yourself with people, colour, sounds, and work that nourish you. ” – Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (Sark)

 

“My mother always says people should be able to take care of themselves, even if they’re rich and important.”  ― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

 

We need to start treating ourselves how we deserve to be treated, even if you feel that no one else does.  Prove to the world you ARE worth something by treating yourself with the utmost respect and hope that other people will follow your example.  And even if they don’t, at least one person in the world is treating you well: YOU.” ― Carrie Hope FletcherAll I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully

Finding Stillness

And as I enjoyed my first Spa Day, and stillness entered my life once again, I realised that this needs to become a daily practice. Not just a monthly practice.

Not just a special day, but a special time for me carved out of every day.

“Prioritise self-care & incorporate a MINIMUM of 60 mins ‘ME TIME’ into your daily routine.
YES THERE ARE enough hours in the day.  NO EXCUSES.”  ― Miya YamanouchiEmbrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women

Daily Self Care

I’m not there yet but it’s another goal I’m working towards this year. Taking an hour a day just for me sounds like a lot right now.  However, I find this kind of advice really helps…

“Enjoy the simple things. Don’t over complicate everything. Take a breath. Find some stillness. Stop to smell the flowers. Listen to the birds. Sit in the sunshine.”  ― Akiroq Brost

 

“I lied and said I was busy.

I was busy; but not in a way most people understand.

I was busy taking deeper breaths.

I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.

I was busy calming a racing heart.

I was busy telling myself I am okay.

Sometimes, this is my busy – and I will not apologize for it.”  ― Brittin Oakman

 

“Don’t allow your pain to express itself through your body, your health and your well-being. Work out what is worrying you.  Do something about your stress. Don’t internalize your frustration, anger, pain, stress and worries. Try meditating, going for a walk, exercising, doing something you love, or engaging in self-care. Undealt with it will manifest physically. Don’t allow that to happen.  You have a responsibility to yourself to look after yourself. If you’re struggling with how, seek help from another. Remember, you are not alone.”  ― Akiroq Brost

Just Breathe

“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. ”  – Etty Hillesum

Alone Time

Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”
Bell Hooks

Appreciation

The daily art of gratitude, the practice of journaling all the things I appreciate has been my saving Grace many a time.

“Stop focusing on how stressed you are, and remember how blessed you are. “ –Unknown

Say No to Others Sometimes

And as a woman, and especially as a mother (with people-pleasing tendencies), this advice is golden:

“If you want to live an authentic, meaningful life, you need to master the art of disappointing and upsetting others, hurting feelings, and living with the reality that some people just won’t like you. It may not be easy, but it’s essential if you want your life to reflect your deepest desires, values, and needs.”  ― Cheryl RichardsonThe Art of Extreme Self-Care: Transform Your Life One Month at a Time

Say Yes to You Sometimes

And as we learn to say no to others, we learn to say yes to ourselves.

And amazingly, as we say yes to ourselves, others start saying yes to us more often.

And then something magical happens.  By our example, we teach others to say yes to themselves.

“In fact, that is why the lives of most women are so vaguely unsatisfactory. They are always doing secondary and menial things (that do not require all their gifts and ability) for others and never anything for themselves.

Society and husbands praise them for it (when they get too miserable or have nervous breakdowns) though always a little perplexedly and half-heartedly and just to be consoling.

The poor wives are reminded that that is just why wives are so splendid — because they are so unselfish and self-sacrificing and that is the wonderful thing about them!

But inwardly women know that something is wrong.

They sense that if you are always doing something for others, like a servant or nurse, and never anything for yourself, you cannot do others any good. You make them physically more comfortable.

But you cannot affect them spiritually in any way at all.

For to teach, encourage, cheer up, console, amuse, stimulate or advise a husband or children or friends, you have to be something yourself…

If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say; ‘Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!’ you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.”  ― Brenda Ueland

A note on Self Love

And can there be any self-care without self-love?

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”  – Lucille Ball

 

“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” – Mary Dunbar

 

“If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.”  ― Victoria MoranLit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty

I sincerely trust that as I give more and more to myself, that I will be able to give more and more of myself to the world.

Over to You

Have you found this to be true for you?

Where are you on the Self Care Scale?  Do you take time out monthly, weekly or daily for you?

Do you meditate, exercise or enjoy pure indulgence like a Spa Day here and there?

What’s your personal brand of Self Care?

I’d love to hear what does it for you… what feeds and nourishes your heart, body and soul.

I invite you to share your self-care tips and experiences in the comments below.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful thought:

“Be you, love you. All ways, always.”  ― Alexandra Elle